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Ava is learning all about objects this week.  She understands that her hands are objects and she chews them all the time.  She’s also having fun with toys.  It all started with a rainbow caterpillar that my friend gave us at a baby shower.  Ava used to be scared of it and now it will stop her from crying because it’s so exciting!  So we bought her an attachment for her carseat and an activity gym.  The carseat attachment has a sphere with tiny balls on it that spins.  When I first made it spin, her eyes widened in delight (it’s the one on the right in the picture).

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The play gym is even more exciting.  It plays music, has flashing lights, a mirror, a rattle, and other toys.  It will keep her occupied for a solid ten minutes.  The best thing is that she knows to wave her arms to make the rattles move.

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A few more tidbits:

  • Ava’s is sounding less like a newborn and more like a baby everyday.  It used to be that if she didn’t get food fast enough she would wimper.  Now she shrieks.  
  • She also babbles a lot more now, especial in the morning. If Jon and I are talking she tries to participate.
  • She also knows how to do more things with her mouth.  First she would mirror my tongue movements by sticking hers out too.  Now she’s been making a snapping noise with her gums.  The first time she ever did it was in the middle of the night when I was positioning her for nursing.  It was such a loud noise I thought I was hearing a bone snap.
  • She smiles all the time.

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We live in an oddly shaped bungalow house.  The house isn’t very wide, but it’s very deep like a shoebox.  This results in a narrow rooms.  The master bedroom is just the upstairs of the house.  When we first moved in, we put the bed at the front of the upstairs so that the window was behind the headboard.  This setup became problematic after Ava was born because I need to get out of the bed easily for changing Ava’s diaper, putting her in a crib someday, etc.  So when my dad was here, he kindly volunteered to help me rearrange the position of the bed to a different wall.

 

We wound up switching the position of the bed with the cockatiels’ setup.  I thought they’d be really excited to be next to a window where they could see everything that was happening outside.

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Unfortunately, Trevor is scared of everything that happens outside, and Conner and Trevor prefer to be in utter darkness.  Stonewall loves the light, and would start singing at 6:30.  After spending all night waking up and tending to the baby, this was even less acceptable than if I was getting regular sleep.  So now there are curtains in front of that window.  Stonewall likes the setup.  He doesn’t fight with Trevor as much as he did before.

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Stonewall is the only one of the cockatiels that’s curious about Ava.  The other cockatiels hiss at her or run away when we walk near them.  I think it’s because of all her crying.  But Stonewall is so interested that sometimes he flies to the bed to look at her.  Here he is creeping up on her.  Moments after this was taken he chewed on her sock.

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Ava is Two Months Old

It took two months, but I think I’ve finally gotten a handle on this mommy thing.  We’ve hopefully lessened Ava’s gas problems.  She still has times where she cries, but it’s not for hours on end.  And honestly, even if it was I’m now over it.  Before I was so scared and full of doubts; it’s always fear of the unknown with me.  But now I know that she can cry for three straight hours and neither of us will die, although I did consider using earplugs.

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I will admit that there were a few days where I was scared to go home from work and really scared of the looming weekend because it would involve endless days of listening to her cry.  I was scared that I might go through an experience like this.  I’m definitely not cut out to be a stay at home mom.  I much prefer getting excited to see her at the end of the day and having the patience to deal with her, which I suspect I’d be lacking after the ninth hour of staying with her at home.

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I’m not ashamed to admit that I can get very excited about Ava’s bodily functions.  I totally relate to Mihow’s tweet.  What I didn’t get before is that variations from normalcy can result in the baby being in pain.  I’m not excited about poop as much as I’m excited that Ava won’t continue to scream every time she has gas.

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Onto the cute tidbits!

  • She’s really understanding that her arms are attached to her body and she uses them with purpose.  It used to be that she would push your face if you kissed her too much or swat at a bottle when she was full.  Now she’ll also grab my arm when I’m carrying her.
  • When Ava eats she’ll use her hand to caress me.  It’s incredibly endearing and I have to resist the urge to tear up every time.
  • Ava noticeably prefers breast milk to formula.  She’ll accept bottles of formula, but if you give her a bottle with breast milk she’s make an “am-um-um” noise.
  • I’m not sure if it’s cooing or babbling, but Ava’s noises are insanely cute.
  • Ava prefers to direct her noises at some brightly colored wrapping paper.  She will stare at that wrapping paper longer than anything else you can give her.

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The Witching Hour

I wasn’t able to post this weekend because Ava has decided that she hates being in our TV area.  Even if she’s sleeping and you sit down in the area, she’ll start to cry.  She’s been crying a lot this week actually.  She had several days where she’d cry inconsolably for hours starting at 11 am and around 6-8 pm.  It was rough.  These are full throated cries.

She seems to have a lot of gas, so we’re in the process of experimenting with different formulas (I’m supplementing with formula), distilled water, mylicon drops, and gripe water.  So far the gripe water is working wonders and Ava is back to being a generally happy baby.  I really hope it continues.  The literature suggests that this is completely normal and her crying will progressively decrease until she’s four months old.  Here’s hoping.  There’s nothing worse than seeing your baby in pain.  I prefer this face:

 

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Ava is staying awake for longer periods of time.  I thought that babies were kind of lumps in the beginning and that you’d haul them around with you, but that it took awhile for their personalities to come through.  I was so wrong.  Ava is very engaged and she wants your undivided attention.  She’ll enjoy staring at the chandelier for a minute, but then you need to move her to a new thing to look at.  If you’re playing with her, you have to vary the play.  So first I’ll make weird noises with my tongue, then I’ll kiss her belly, then I’ll pretend to eat her feet.  She needs variety.  There are very specific rules to be followed.  Otherwise, you get this expression.

 

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And it will devolve into crying if you don’t notice the warning signs.

 

I discovered recently that Ava will go into a very deep sleep if you put her on your chest.  At 5 a.m. this morning she was wide awake if you put her in her bed, but on my chest she slept for hours.  It was pretty sweet.  Things are even better when she moves her hand on my chest.  I’m a sucker for little bits of affection.

 

I’m conflicted about being back at work.  During the first week I was happy to have a break to work on patent law and not just baby things.  But this week…I miss Ava.  I think it’s because I know she’s uncomfortable during the day.  I wish I was there to comfort her.

Ava Bathes

This was my last week of maternity leave. I’m so sad to have to leave her; I’m sure I’ll cry at least once on Monday. But we have an amazing woman looking after Ava so I know she’ll be fine without me there.

 

I’ve been trying to savor the time this weekend and focus on fun activities like bathing Ava.  I’d been giving her baths in the kitchen sink.  She used to scream and fuss until I discovered that I could hold her head and let her float.  But last week she grew so much that she was the length of the sink.  I bought her a lounge chair for bathing and put her in the bathtub this week.  She’s a big fan of the chair.

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The most recent physical change is that her cheeks are getting much fuller.  Also her neck is getting really strong.  It will be nice when she can hold her neck up because her need to look around makes it hard to put her in a swing.  Once her head stays up I hope she’ll like being in a carrier.

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Magpie

Thanks to my wonderful in-laws I was able to go birding at Red Butte Garden recently.  I found a juvenile Black-billed Magpie that was quite tolerant of having his picture taken.  I had to back up to get all of the bird in my 500mm lens.

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You can tell this is a juvenile by the remaining gape in the corner of the magpie’s mouth.

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He saw me and we just looked at each other for awhile.

 

 

This one is arty.

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Ava Sleeps

Ava is generally a good sleeper during the night.  She usually sleeps from midnight to 3, nurses for an hour, sleeps from 4 to 6:30 or 7, and then from 7:30 or 8 to 8:30.  There was one day where she slept too much during the day and then wanted to have fun all night, so I know to be mindful of how long she naps.  She prefers her naps to occur while she’s being held, which is incredibly inconvenient but sweet.  I can sometimes get her to nap if I sleep next to her until she’s in a deep sleep.  Today I was trying that trick and she would move her elbow to be touching mine, which makes me love her so much.  I get so excited about any indication that she wants contact with me because usually she’s just tolerating things like kisses and hugs.

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She likes to sleep with her arms up near her head.  Jon says he used to sleep the same way.

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When she’s really deep in sleep, she’ll do a triple inhale or a content sigh.  She makes the same sigh when she’s eating, but since she has to breathe while eating, it sounds more like “rar-rar-rar.”  I love it.

 

This is Ava’s Bill Clinton impression.

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Someday I expect that Ava and Teddy will be best friends. But at first I was very cautious of the dog. He was too eager to jump on my stomach while I was pregnant. When we brought Ava home he was intensely curious, but he couldn’t get too close to her. Eventually I let him lick her feet and he calmed down. Now he often sits next to me while I’m holding Ava and he’ll check her out when she’s in her swing or carseat.

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She doesn’t notice him yet, but the literature says she can’t see more than a foot in front of her.  At this stage she recognizes Jon and I, this morning she was fascinated by a plant, and yesterday she was transfixed by the chandelier.  When other people hold her and then she comes back to one of us, she has a spark of recognition.  People often remark on her level of engagement.

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Now that Teddy isn’t as worried about Ava, he’s interested in the smell coming from her diaper.  He also wants to make sure that we aren’t ignoring him in favor of Ava.

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Ava smiles sometimes now.  I can’t wait until she laughs.

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More Ava

I think Ava sometimes dreams of feeding because I can watch her lips make the sucking movement while she’s sleeping.

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She makes these half smiles like the picture above, but I know they’re just a reflex and not from joy.  The baby books say that at 6-8 weeks babies will mimic your expressions so I’ll be smiling a lot.  I’m not a happy affectionate person, but maybe I can convince her to be happy and affectionate if I smile enough.  I give her a lot of kisses with the same hope.  She merely tolerates them right now, though.

 

Right after she wakes up, she makes these incredibly adult faces.  Like this one makes it look like she’s exasperated with me.

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She looks so completely different depending on the expression.  See below?  She looks like a different baby.

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House Sparrow

I haven’t been birding for months, unless you count seeing a shell from a baby robin.  I do have some cute pictures of House Sparrows from last March.  There’s one tree at Red Butte Garden where they’re always eating.

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I know House Sparrows are very common, but they’re lovely birds.

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I’m hoping I can make it back to Red Butte Garden before my maternity leave is up.

 

 

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